This anti-aging trend is related to the writings of entrepreneur Michael Hogg, who described in his book ‘The Age-nostic Men‘ how you can feel and live like a 35-year-old when you are 53. Between 1950 and 2010 the average global life expectancy increased with 252 months. When age expectations go up, the number of patients will grow and health becomes an increasingly important issue. In all corners of society and across all age categories, people start taking control of their own health. This amortality trend is built on two evolutions: more monitoring and benchmarking of life statistics on the one hand, and carefree sporting just for fun without any feeling of competition on the other, referred to as ‘sportainment’.
Striving for health has turned into a spiritual thing, self-discipline being its highest level. In the same mind-frame of the ‘sharing trend’, sports are evolving from solitary community service for ‘caged hamsters’ to a health investment based on cosiness, appealing context and mutual support. Fitbits, Nike Fuelband and other instruments to measure our sport activities or burned calories, are only the start of the amortality trend. The after-war generations no longer wish to ‘grow old healthily’. They simply wish not to grow old at all! Amortality is an atypical alchemy, originating at the meeting point of believing in one’s own capacity and the increasing life expectancy.
The internet of bodies
The Apple App Store alone offers over 50,000 health and fitness apps, most of which fit with the 0-1-2-3 norm: 0 manuals, 1 start button, 2 options and 3 seconds for your question to be answered. By 2017 the worldwide sales of (non-prescribed) portable health sensors – including apps and add-ons for smartphones – is estimated to hit half a billion a year. (Source: ABI Research). So instead of Apps, we will speak about ‘Adds‘ in 2014: add-on physical health monitoring tools linking your body to your smartphone with applications meant to motivate you into health endorsing behavior.
- Youw8 benchmarks your weight with people of the same age
- iBGStar monitors blood glucose levels for diabetes patients
- Tinké is an iPhone plug-in measuring blood pressure, pulse, oxygen and some other key health indicators permanently scoring your body functions on 100
- Ignite app is a life expectancy calculator with gamified options and tips to live a healthier life and increase the number of hours you will be alive: the life number. Watch the introduction video
Work (your) heart, play hard
Millennials increasingly want to go to events where the excitement originates from feeling part of the crowd. They want to feel part of something greater and in an age where they are often separated by screens, they value these moments where they can come together and connect with peers. Not only connections with digital communities, but first and foremost with people in real units – and not exclusively age or gender peers. As our social and professional lives are configured more and more by bits and bytes, we see an increase in Generation Y’s longing for material substance and corporality. Conviviality is gaining in interest in our sporting activities; people share challenges and experiences. We are on the eve of a breakthrough of ‘sportainment’ in Europe.
- Run Dem Crew: a movement founded by Charlie Dark in 2007 as an alternative to traditional stuffy running clubs. Runners start with a hug and then run together without any competitive goal. The Run Dem Crew is now sponsored by Nike.
- Tough Mudder: a boot camp for everyone, not only for the most sporting types. It started in the US in 2010 and immediately had 20,000 participants. The general philosophy is group thinking and participating implies you are to help and motivate others. In the meanwhile Tough Mudder organizes 52 different events on a yearly basis and no less than 700,000 people (of which 25% are women) took part in 2013. Here’s a preview!
- Naked Run for Freedom: originated from the Danish Roskilde festival. The festival encourages guests to get naked and race for charity. Runners are only allowed to wear a helmet and shoes. The annual recurrent attraction at Roskilde is the naked run around the campsite. Whether motivation comes from the free ticket to the next year’s festival given to the male and female winners , a desire to contribute to a worthy cause or the wish to experience a feeling of freedom, dozens of participants try their hand at nude-running every year.
- Color run: 5 km of running while being sprayed with paint: a contest without competition, figures or statistics, it is simply about enjoying the mutual activity, also called party-cipation.
In the past 5 years the share of sporting holidays (including climbing the Kilimanjaro or cycling to the top of Mont Ventoux in France) has already increased with 20% and 2014 will be a year filled with ‘sportainment’ for many Millennials.
Discover 4 other consumer trends in our 5 Paradoxical Consumer Trends paper: